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How loud should I set my X-Fi?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have my sound card connected to my receiver. With my old Audigy 4 card, I could set it to 100% volume and control it through the receiver and it was fine; however, with my new X-Fi Platinum card, it distorts at 100% volume. A friend of mine once idly mentioned that his X-Fi was "loud"... I guess that's what he meant.

I used Audio Creation Mode's monitor and the multichannel wave mixer to dial it down until I stopped seeing red (I had to bring Front L/R down to -10 dB), but this only works in Audio Creation Mode.

Simply setting the main volume to 50% SEEMS to accomplish the same thing initially, but I still notice distortion from enhancements such as the Crystalizer and reverb. Thus, it's also distorting somewhere up the chain.

What volume setting(s) do you guys use with your X-Fi cards if you're controlling the volume externally (via receiver, speakers, etc.)?
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post #2 of 20
This card truly is more powerful than the Audigy 4. I recommend not using the Crystalizer or any other things like that because those settings are artificial which I think is why you're getting distortion even at a lower volume level.

I've noticed that this card is not only more powerful in regards to the volume, but just with everything in general. It has more power for bass, treble, everything.

For example: I upgraded from the Audigy 2 ZS to the X-Fi XtremeGamer, and I had to significantly reduce the bass, treble, EQ, and the volume, and all I use are basic 2.1 speakers (Altec Lansing's VS4121BLKs).
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, I avoided any distortion by setting Front L/R's fader down, and the Crystalizer doesn't distort -- however, this forces me to stay in Audio Creation Mode. I know that true audiophiles will probably frown at using Crystalizer and other enhancements, but I rather like how it brings out the highs.

Things start distorting in other modes, i.e. Game Mode and Entertainment Mode. But I suppose movies are encoded with a higher dynamic range so it'll actually be beneficial... hmm...

I'm just wondering if it's supposed to be like this by design, because it seems like a pretty big oversight to me. If I set the fader to 0, the monitor goes up into the red for almost everything, even without any enhancements applied (see attachments).

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post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nookkin View Post
Well, I avoided any distortion by setting Front L/R's fader down, and the Crystalizer doesn't distort -- however, this forces me to stay in Audio Creation Mode. I know that true audiophiles will probably frown at using Crystalizer and other enhancements, but I rather like how it brings out the highs.

Things start distorting in other modes, i.e. Game Mode and Entertainment Mode. But I suppose movies are encoded with a higher dynamic range so it'll actually be beneficial... hmm...

I'm just wondering if it's supposed to be like this by design, because it seems like a pretty big oversight to me. If I set the fader to 0, the monitor goes up into the red for almost everything, even without any enhancements applied (see attachments).
What's playing during those screenshots? It looks like the player's volume is too high.
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm just playing something with Windows Media Player. It does the exact same thing with YouTube videos, other media player software, etc.

Are you saying that I should keep those at 50%? Windows defaults them to 100%, and I never had issues like this with my other card or with onboard sound.
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post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nookkin View Post
I'm just playing something with Windows Media Player. It does the exact same thing with YouTube videos, other media player software, etc.

Are you saying that I should keep those at 50%? Windows defaults them to 100%, and I never had issues like this with my other card or with onboard sound.
Yep! With as much power as we both have in our true X-Fi cards, we no longer have to have the volume as high as we used to for anything. With these cards, we have tons and tons of headroom (which is a good thing, of course).

So with YouTube, Windows Media Player, etc., just keep the volume at a lower setting (experiment).

For me, I keep my physical speaker volume at 50%, my Console Launcher volume at 50%, media players (YouTube, WMP, etc.) at like 10-20% (sometimes louder if the video is too quiet), treble at 55%, Bass at 10%, and I have the EQ adjusted to my taste. But I do also use the Crystalizer, and I have it adjusted to my taste too.

I use Audio Creation Mode for playing store-bought CDs through Windows Media Player. When I do this, I have the volume at approximately 20% in WMP, the main Console Launcher is at 50%, and both "Wave" and "Front L/R" are at 0.0.

So yeah, there's a very nice amount of headroom!
Edited by TwoCables - 12/30/10 at 6:33am
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post #7 of 20
I never set anything to 100%
I use max 80% on the volume on the PC and 30% on my speakers.
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post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
That makes sense, but it seems a bit inconvenient to do that. That, and the fact that some sources (i.e. YouTube) have their own volume control while others (i.e. WMP) tie into Windows' audio mixer.

I also heard that setting things to 100% will ensure that minimal modification is done to the audio bits, resulting in a better sound... is this true?

I don't use bass or treble adjustments on my sound card... bad memories from my Audigy 4 (adjusting them would require me to reinstall my driver) I only use the Crystalizer as far as enhancements go.
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post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nookkin View Post
That makes sense, but it seems a bit inconvenient to do that. That, and the fact that some sources (i.e. YouTube) have their own volume control while others (i.e. WMP) tie into Windows' audio mixer.
But YouTube and WMP are no different: when you adjust the volume in YouTube, it goes up and down independently of the global volume just as it does when you adjust the volume in WMP. It's independent. Plus, both remember your last setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nookkin View Post
I don't use bass or treble adjustments on my sound card... bad memories from my Audigy 4 (adjusting them would require me to reinstall my driver) I only use the Crystalizer as far as enhancements go.
Why would adjusting the bass and treble require you to reinstall the driver?
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post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
I just meant that YouTube runs through Flash player, which does its own audio mixing, but Windows Media Player uses Windows Vista's new mixer. Check the Windows (not X-Fi) mixer and notice that the "Windows Media Player" slider moves.

It's only inconvenient because I have to keep track of each source and adjust 2 different volume controls. If everything is set to 100%, I can just use one volume control (my receiver's), but I guess the X-Fi has a different internal gain or something.

It required me to reinstall the driver on my old card because Audigy 4 cards have issues on Windows 7 apparently. If I adjusted bass/treble, the volume would go DOWN by about 40 dB (!!!) and nothing would bring it back up. Obviously not an issue with my X-Fi.
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